CREATE Paisley, a Renfrewshire based youth arts charity is working with partners to promote creativity and wellbeing again this October by hosting Open Mind Summit, a one-day online event exploring how creativity and culture can improve young people’s wellbeing.

Launched in 2019, on World Mental Health Day, the sell-out event attracted over 100 like-minded individuals of all ages to be inspired, learn, collaborate and connect. In 2020, in the midst of lockdown, the event moved online, and discussed ‘how can creativity help children and young people overcome isolation and loneliness’.

Over the last 2 years, the summit has hosted a diverse line-up of young people, artists, activists and influencers, national organisations, educators, researchers and more with keynotes from Darren McGarvey and Steven McLeish.

Alan Clark, Executive Director at CREATE Paisley said, “We’re delighted to continue Open Mind Summit for a third year and build upon the connections and conversations over the last 2 years.

“The Summit continues to be a space to be inspired and to explore the role of creativity in improving the wellbeing of children and young people. This last 18 months has been an extremely challenging time for young people across Renfrewshire and further afield and we know the power of creativity and the arts in supporting young people towards improved connections and wellbeing.”

This year, the Summit will be on Friday 8th October and will explore the theme, Mental Health for All with three subthemes: Nature for All, Connections for All and Justice for All. The programme this year will reflect these themes, with 3 keynote speakers, a morning panel discussion and a range of workshops.

Alan continues, ‘We’re so excited by this year’s line up with keynote talks from Angela Awuah, Ollie Bray and Jo Musker-Sherwood, as well as an opportunity to hear more about 10,000 Miles, a celebration of connection and creativity and a showcase the work of two dance companies right2dance in Paisley, Scotland and yellowwheel in Melbourne, Australia and their experiences with connecting across the globe.’

Angela Awuah is founder and director of award-winning social enterprise Mental Health The Arts (MHTA), an early intervention creative arts academy in South London which works with young people on developing creative coping mechanisms using their gifts and talents. She has been a carer for over 10 years for a family member that was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Her background involves campaigning, public speaking and youth-led social action.

Ollie Bray is currently Strategic Director at Education Scotland where he overall strategic responsibility for National Improvement Initiatives and Professional Learning and Leadership.

This includes major national initiatives including Wellbeing and Equality. Immediately before rejoining Education Scotland he was Global Director: Connecting Play and Education at the LEGO Foundation (www.legofoundation.com) where he led the Foundations work related to education improvement through the use of technology and play.

Jo Musker-Sherwood has over fifteen years’ experience in the charity sector. As the Founder Director of Hope for the Future, she oversaw the charity’s growth from a small project to a national NGO impacting climate policy at all levels of government. Following an experience of activism-related burnout, Jo turned her attention to researching and developing strategies for emotional and ecological wellbeing. She is a coach in training, and currently researches, writes, mentors, and consults on emotional resilience strategies for those working in the environmental sector.

Hazel Darragh, Senior Communications Officer at Kibble Education and Care Centre, added “We’re delighted once again to be part of the Open Mind Summit, alongside Create Paisley and other partners, to explore the intrinsic link between creativity, culture and wellbeing. At Kibble, children and young people excel in all areas of the arts; an important means of self-expression, achievement, connection and confidence. This year’s event is set to be one of the best yet, with a host of key speakers, workshops, performances and inspiring conversation.”

“Working with the team at Open Mind Summit has been a really positive experience. The Summits’ aims and objectives fit well with our own at the Centre for Culture, Sport and Events which are aligned to culture, health, wellbeing and regeneration. CCSE’s involvement has seen us facilitate some of the Summit’s online sessions and our PhD student Lam Pham’s multi-faceted association with the Summit has been beneficial for her ongoing research.’ Prof Gayle McPherson, Director of CCSE

“The health and wellbeing of our young people is so important. This event will be a very useful tool and learning experience for young people and practitioners who work with young people. It will look to equip them with better ideas and resources to help them deal with mental health issues they may be dealing with now or in the future.”

Cllr. Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Open Mind Summit is funded by Renfrewshire Council and delivered in partnership with CREATE Paisley as part of Future Paisley. Future Paisley is a radical and wide-ranging programme of events, activities and investments using the town’s unique and internationally significant cultural stories to transform its future.

Open Mind Summit is on 8th October on online platform Hopin and tickets are just £25 and there are a limited number of bursary places available for creative practitioners and young people.

To find out more and book your place, visit: www.openmindsummit.com.